He got from his mother his liveliness, his creative talent and his anarchistic temperament. From his maternal grandfather, a forest warden, Alvar learned: "The forest can do without man, but man cannot do without the forest. " Alvar was the family' s first child, and later came two brothers and a sister. The whole family shared a love for nature, for the forests and the fields. When Alvar was five years old the family moved to Jyvaskyla, in the middle of a lake landscape in central Finland. It was in this town, named the "Athens of Finland", that the first Finnish-language grammar school was founded. This fact decidedly influenced the family' s choice of where to live. Alvar Aalto was born on the 3' rd of February 1898 in the village of Kuortane in the south of East Bothnia. His father was a land surveyor and the small Alvar liked to crawl around under his white worktable. When he was four years old, he discovered the surface of the desk and began to sketch his ideas on it. He inherited his father' s social attitude, his cosmopolitan air and the habit of dressing himself flawlessly. Although Swedish was also spoken in the family, the parents were more Finnish-minded and liberal.
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